Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up by Thoroheads provides in-depth summaries, tips and suggested bets.
Race 1 – 12:53PM RURAL FOCUS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)
Fresh from a five-win haul on May 2, leading trainer Steve Wolfe looks set to get the Great Southern season finale off to the best possible start with his three runners primed to fight out the finish. In a flip of the coin, we ended up siding with the talented-but-delicate WAR JEUNE, who reminded us of his capabilities with a strong win in a similar assignment to this back on April 21.The multiple city-winning on-pacer is certainly the best horse in this race and if he can settle well out in front for Andrew Castle then he’s going to be mighty hard to run down late. MR PAGO finally got some reward for a good campaign when getting the better of stablemate BOXONLUCY in this grade last Thursday. Was patiently ridden by Lucas Camilleri on that occasion and with similar tactics, he should have plenty of fuel in the tank to attack the line with strength late. Garry Delane’s rejuvenated DEFIANTLY can split the Wolfe trio and is actually racing well enough to knock them all off. Good to see top jock Lucy Warwick back riding in Albany, while Boxonlucy hasn’t done a lot wrong all campaign and has only missed a place four times from 17 starts at this track.
Suggested: 1. WAR JEUNE win.
1. WAR JEUNE
3. MR PAGO
Race 2 – 1:28PM MAZ FOR BREAKFAST HANDICAP (2100 METRES)
Only a small field to face the starter in this 2100-metre handicap, but it promises to be an intriguing race, especially with the free-wheeling front runner SAXON SAXOFF engaged. This old-fashioned stayer ran his rivals ragged over 2400 metres at Ascot three back and had his second crack at the 3200-metre WA Cup last start, when outclassed behind the likes of Cappo D’Oro, Come Play With Me and Dark Musket. Saxon Saxoff looks really well placed coming back in grade for this assignment and is particularly well weighted with 57.5kg, minus 2kg for improving apprentice Brandon Louis, so if allowed to roll along out in front, he’s going to be hard to catch. NOT AGAIN KEN is back in Albany for another suitable option, having comfortably saluted in a similar event to this here on April 21. Knocked off subsequent winner Mr Pago on that occasion and his follow-up Ascot result was reasonable, so he has to be a genuine winning chance. Another visitor in NAVY BLUE was an Ascot winner three back and missed out narrowly in a blanket finish to a 2100-metre handicap last start. Can mix up his form, but his best is certainly good enough to win this, while Mt Barker Cup winner GAUGED is back on his home track after an uncharacteristically poor result at Ascot last start. Expecting a much more competitive effort here.
Suggested: 3. SAXON SAXOFF win.
3. SAXON SAXOFF
1. NOT AGAIN KEN
5. NAVY BLUE
Race 3 – 2:03PM WORKDAYS WITH SUZE HANDICAP (1900 METRES)
Anything can win this Class 2 Handicap, but if Ascot visitor JIMMY RAPID is on song he really should be saluting. Is certainly a seasoned traveller with Esperance and Kalgoorlie campaigns last year, and a couple of Geraldton runs this prep, and he really did put the writing on the wall with a competitive Ascot result last start, when forced to plot a very wide path on the turn and clocking some strong closing sectionals. Looks well placed by Dion Luciani in this and with a patient Lucy Warwick ride, Jimmy Rapid should be running over the top of these late. CLEO’S AFTERPARTY has been kept fresh (30 days) since his last run behind the in-form Defiantly, prior to a fast-finishing 1600-metre victory in this grade back on March 31. Has enjoyed a competitive Great Southern season and should be making his presence felt again. Stablemate BENTLEY’S BROTHER struggles to win, but continues to race well and this doesn’t look quite as strong as what he faced recently, while AGROUND hasn’t raced in a month but his last-start result against better quality opposition was strong enough to suggest he can finish top four here.
Suggested: 6. JIMMY RAPID win.
6. JIMMY RAPID
3. CLEO’S AFTERPARTY
5. BENTLEY’S BROTHER
Race 4 – 2:38PM THE NIGHTSHIFT WITH LUKE BONA MAIDEN (1450 METRES)
Visiting three-year-old HE’S A GUNSLINGER will be very short, but only bad luck stands in the way of his maiden victory. We were keen on this fellow at Ascot last Wednesday and after having every chance in running he looked to have the race won, however, his condition gave out and he was nailed late by Kendel’s Mee Dad. That was his first run since March 16, so the hit out should tighten him up nicely for this assignment, and he has the talent to make a mess of these late. REGAL REBELLE met with strong support stepping up to the mile second up last Thursday, but the pressure went on a fair way from home and she couldn’t sustain the effort. Looks suited coming back in trip and from gate one, really should get the soft run she requires to make an impact. THE DIVINE WIND is a month between runs, but if he can produce some of his latest Bunbury form then he’s an obvious top-four contender, while local three-year-old UNIVERSAL VAIN showed enough in trials to suggests he can rebound after a disappointing debut performance.
Suggested: 5. HE’S A GUNSLINGER win.
5. HE’S A GUNSLINGER
11. REGAL REBELLE
1. THE DIVINE WIND
8. UNIVERSAL VAIN
Race 5 – 3:15PM DRIVE HOME WITH CLIFF HANDICAP (1230 METRES)
The Ratings 70+ races this season have been very competitive and this is no exception. TRANQUILLA SUNRISE deserves favouritism after a brilliant Great Southern campaign, but the brave last-start effort from SIR SNUGALOT was too good to ignore, and he’s going to take some beating. Has enjoyed some positive results since joining the Steve Wolfe team, including his last-start third when stalking a hot tempo three-and-four wide, and if apprentice Brandon Louis can fire him out to find the rail and hold the lead, then Sir Snugalot should get his shot. Tranquilla Sunrise is flying for the Roy Rogers stable, remarkably capturing career-best form in the latter half of his nine-year-old season. Gives himself every chance by racing on top of the speed and he’s clearly the horse to beat. DE ANDES got the job done over 1100 metres here two back, before something was clearly amiss at Ascot last Saturday. Backing trainer Mark Wright in to have this fellow ready to rebound quickly, while OUR BUDDY BOY was a solid fourth first up in this grade last Thursday and looks set to notch up another top-fourth finish.
Suggested: 3. SIR SNUGALOT win.
3. SIR SNUGALOT
4. TRANQUILLA SUNRISE
5. DE ANDES
9. OUR BUDDY BOY
Race 6 – 3:45PM WORKDAYS WITH DAN HANDICAP (1450 METRES)
COSTA OESTE has been working his way towards peak fitness and expecting him to be ready to produce his best at his fourth run this prep. Toughed it out well chasing a very fast tempo over a mile in this company last Thursday and with positive tactics from the high draw, apprentice Brandon Louis should have this fellow rolling along either in front or outside/behind the other possible leader in JAMBO. From there and with only 53.5kg, he should go close. ONE POINT LADY is likely to start a heavily supported favourite after a soft 1600-metre win in this company last Thursday. Likely to settle midfield or worse in running, so will need to rattle off another big finish, but she’s clearly the best horse in the race and deserves respect. SEA SPRING has built some trust with two solid results in this class after a freshen and she looks set to enjoy a ground-saving rails run in transit, while KATISU is coming off a last-start Narrogin maiden win and maps to enjoy a suitable run in transit.
Suggested: 4. ONE POINT LADY win.
4. ONE POINT LADY
8. SEA SPRING
6. AEECEE TIANHU
*Numbers amended after Final Scratchings
Race 7 – 4:15PM GIVE ME 5 FOR KIDS HANDICAP (1450 METRES)
The second division of the 1450-metre Class 2 Handicap appears a race in two between stablemates TRIGGERFISH and ROUND THE POINT, with the promising three-year-old Triggerfish coming out on top. Impressed last November with back-to-back wins and returned to racing last Thursday with a strong-finishing second in this grade, going within a long neck of giving trainer Steve Wolfe six winner on the day. Should be able to find a suitable running position from the low draw and be afforded every opportunity from there. Round The Point has enjoyed a good season since relocating to the Great Southern and was stiff not to win last start when Peter Hall lost an iron at a crucial stage on the turn. Maps to advantage and has to be a major player. VINO BENETEAU went out hard-and-fast last start and ran a very cheeky race. Expecting similar front-running tactics in this, while LONG KNIFE BROTHER has chased home the in-form Defiantly twice recently and with even luck should be finishing top four.
Suggested: 2. TRIGGERFISH win.
1. ROUND THE POINT
11. VINO BENETEAU
6. LONG KNIFE BROTHER
Race 8 – 4:45PM GREAT SOUTHERN SPORTS SHOW HANDICAP (1230 METRES)
Hard to look past READ THE RIOT ACT in the final race of the 2018/19 Great Southern season, capping off a tremendously successful period for Roy Rogers. Had some excuses when rolled by the in-form Apollo in a similar event to this when racing for the first time in 67 days last Thursday, but with even luck from a potentially-awkward draw, he should be too good. MAGIC OPUS finished alongside out on-top selection last start, continuing her strong form for her new stable. Looks a major player again. Stablemates DEANGLES and ALL TOO MUCH are more than capable of giving this a shake, while first-upper SCANDAL MAKER is an interesting runner and worth including in your exotics.
Suggested: 2. READ THE RIOT ACT win.
2. READ THE RIOT ACT
7. MAGIC OPUS
9. ALL TOO MUCH
**This edition of #TheLegUp by @thoroheadsWA originally published at 9:00am on Friday 10 May 2019
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Albany Racing Club.